Biotie upsizes IPO as ex-partner UCB decides to cash out

Biotie Therapies (HEL:BTH1V) has become the latest European biotech to ratchet up its Nasdaq IPO plans after gauging interest in the offering. But proceeds for the CNS specialist are due to stay at the same level, with the 12% rise in the overall haul coming from UCB's (EBR:UCB) decision to sell its stake for around $7.7 million (€6.8 million).

Biotie CEO Timo Veromaa

UCB owns 9% of Biotie heading into the listing of American Depository Shares but is ready to cash out in a deal that will see it contribute the bulk of the 15% overallotment. If all of the overallotment is sold, the IPO will raise $56 million and UCB will exit Biotie, leaving entities associated with Versant Ventures and Invesco Perpetual as the two biggest shareholders. For Biotie and UCB, the sale would mark the end of a collaboration that saw the latter make a $20 million upfront payment and commit to $340 million in milestones in 2013.

That arrangement fell apart last year when UCB returned the rights to tozadenant, the Parkinson's disease candidate the companies were collaboratively pushing through clinical development. Turku, Finland-based Biotie was left on the cusp of Phase III without a partner, a situation it is trying to manage through a two-phase fundraising drive. Having bagged €27.5 million from big-name backers including Vivo Capital, OrbiMed Advisors and Versant Ventures in April, Biotie is now trying to take its total haul up to $95 million by wooing Wall Street.

Biotie expects to start enrolling patients in the Phase III tozadenant trial imminently. The IPO haul, existing cash pile and payments from Lundbeck (CPH:LUN) for Selincro are forecast to be sufficient to fund the trial through to completion, as well as bankroll a portion of mid-phase studies of SYN120 in Parkinson's dementia and BTT1023 in primary sclerosing cholangitis.

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